Lib Dem members survey: 61% say no to key Coalition health reform

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 500 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results this week.

Lib Dems reject key health reform measure 61%-24%

LDV asked: The government are currently planning to reform the NHS. Currently health services are commissioned by local Health Trusts. Under the government’s plans local Health Trusts would be abolished, and health services would instead be commissioned by consortiums made up of groups of local GPs. From what you have read or heard about these plans, do you support or oppose these proposals?

    Total support = 24%
    32% – Oppose
    29% – Strongly oppose
    Total oppose = 61%
    15% – Don’t know / No opinion

A pretty overwhelming vote, then, in opposition to one of the key reforms of the Coalition’s health white paper — and certainly in line with the party’s Spring conference verdict. (Though it’s only fair to note that 1-in-4 members in our survey back the Coalition reforms, a higher level than among voting conference representatives.)

Here are a selection of your comments:

Whilst a pretty principle, I don’t see how this will reduce the extreme bureaucracy and expense of the current system, and also the lack of local accountability – why can’t more responsibility for health be given to local authorities?

I support the principle of clinicians having oversight of the allocation of NHS resources on behalf of their patients. The Bill’s proposals don’t implement that very well.

I don’t agree with private companies bidding to provide health services.

Reform is needed, but not this badly thought through and poorly presented mess. Lansley needs to go.

Don’t go far enough, there should be access charges and health insurance options so patients control the market

The Torys did damage to the NHS last time. GPs in my area are useless, how on earth could they do more than they do now.

I don’t think there was nearly enough consultation in general and with those with professional expertise in particular.

I don’t object to the principle of clinical commissioning, but I am concerned at the current proposals, very much along the standard lines (accountability, conflict of interests, etc)

Idea sound, needs trialling first to iron our glitches. Around here those employed in the system are simply changing hats and collecting redundancy money on the way.

Whilst I agree with devolution of NHS purchasing down to local levels, are GPs really in the business of buying in or contracting all of these services? Or are they going to have to take on the former PCT staff who’ve just been expensively sacked?

I don’t oppose in principle, but it needs more explanation, more piloting, and reassurance about the risk of a private company takeover of commissioning.

  • Almost 1,300 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with Over 530 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 18th and 24th April.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However,’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
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    This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.


    • Martin Marprelate 26th Apr '11 - 9:36am

      I never thought I would ever post these words but on this issue I find myself foursquare behind the 61% Lib-Dems who reject the Lansley/Cameron changes , I utterly refuse to call them “Reforms” , to our NHS, free at point of need to all and I most certainly am NOT a Lib-Dem supporter. Indeed I would normally vote Conservative, but these changes and the severity and speed of The Cuts have alienated people such as myself. I feel that the Tories will find this to their cost at the impending Elections on May 5th,but do have to say that it will be a hard day’s night for the Lib-Dems too as the results come in.

    • What happened to all the other questions or I am I just being stupid?

    • Over to you Mr Clegg, ignoring this sentiment, clearly expressed at both conference and this poll, will lead to worse consequences than Tuition fees….

    • Alun Griffiths 27th Apr '11 - 8:36am

      I’m really glad to see this. Though the overwhelming vote in Sheffield reassured me I was in the right party and saved me a lot of agony, I have been concerned that what is for me the key part of the reforms hasn’t featured in the discussion since that much. I hope that one of the changes iforced n the bill (unless of course it can be dropped altogether – please …) will be to preserve the PCTs in some form and not force GPs into commissioning responsibility.

    • Jeremy Ambache 27th Apr '11 - 9:19am

      Well done to the majority of Lib Dem members on opposing these proposed major commissioning changes for the NHS!

      The Bustow / Lansely so called reforms are the opposite of Lib Dem policy agreed at conference in 2008. Conference voted for ‘evolution’ and no top down reorganistion of the NHS.

      The current White paper and Bill have already massively destabilised the NHS – another 2 year of the same would be a disaster!


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